Wednesday, November 27, 2013

RMR: Rick at the Royal Winter Fair

One thing great about Rick Mercer is that all the clips from his show go up on Youtube. Here's his bit with the bunnies.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

[Bunny Rant] Rick Mercer (@rickmercer), 4H and Bunnies.

Dearest Rick,

You know I love you. You're my second favourite Canadian behind Michael J. (Sorry, he's cuter.) I love you ahead of my, and the rest of Canada's, boyfriend George S! If that isn't adoration, what is? However, on your show tonight (November 26th, 2013) I twitched; twice. It wasn't just a friendly nose twitch, it was a golden education opportunity missed. Yes, I'm talking about your bit with the rabbits; you chose 4H as the representatives, but that's like asking pork farmers to tell you about truffle hunting. I'll apologize now for coming across as the zealot I am when it comes to pet rabbits.

The "Look lady, I have stuff to do, politicians to harass, jokes to write" short form is :

- Hutches aren't enough. Bunnies need room to run.
- Bunnies are indoor animals. Predators can literally scare them to death outside, and if not possums, then weather.
- Bunnies are litterbox trainable.
- Bunnies are intelligent, creative and like having cute little three year olds hopping around your feet.
- Bunnies need to be spayed or neutered. (Just like cats and dogs!)
- Bunnies can be clicker trained. (As you saw when you got to do bunny jumping.)
- Bunnies are a long time commitment! They can live 10 - 12 years!

If you're still with me, here's the longer version of the shpiel. A better written version can be found over on The House Rabbit Society's website.

Bunnies, like cats and dogs, are indoor animals who need room to move, the right food, care, toys, and love. Many think bunnies are boring animals that live in a cage, eat carrots, poop and live to the "ripe old age" of four or five. You'd be pretty boring too if you spent your entire live in a two meter by two meter box.

The house rabbit (aka, the pet bunny) needs hay and lots of it. It should have access to fresh hay at all times, preferably timothy or orchard grass. If you're not lucky to live in farm country, then you can always find lots of the internet. You can also typically find horse people who'll sell you a flake so you don't have to buy an entire bale and wonder what you're going to do with a huge chunk of hay for the rest of the year. They deserve a salad to eat each dinner, from the store spring mix if you're lazy like me works well. Pellets should be limited and should be timothy based. Sweets like carrots, or apple, or other tidbits should be treats only. A fingernail size per pound of bunny is a serving.

Bored bunnies are destructive bunnies, just like bored dogs or bored humans! Bunny toys are a mix of creative ingenuity and raiding the stocks of other pet aisles. Bunnies like to fling things and chew things. Stackable cups, toilet paper rolls stuffed with hay, parrot wood and rope toys, all these keep a bunny happy and busy. A companion is also a good choice since if you're not around to snuggle or play with your bunny, they will get very lonely.

A happy bunny is a farting bunny. Bunnies require knowledgeable vets. Aside from being fixed to make them better companion animals, bunnies have delicate bones, delicate digestive systems and respiratory issues. Downside is, not all vets study bunnies and not all are willing to learn about them so vet care can get quite expensive quite quickly. A lot of animal insurance companies also don't consider rabbits eligible.

When someone says they have forty-seven rabbits, I automatically wonder how those rabbits are living. They can't possibly be getting the love, attention and exercise they need. Even rescuers who have divided up their house to help the rascally rabbits would blanch at taking care of that number. I often tell would-be rabbit slaves, er, owners, that they need to watch Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck .. and they'll have less luck than Daffy.

If you want to spend your afternoon being overrun by cute, I'm sure that Rabbit Rescue Inc would be thrilled to help you.

Thank you for listening!

Stepping off my soap box,
Lorna Appleby

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

[Gerbilly Goodness] Freddie the Good.

He's a good gerbil, really.

His cage has two doors, one at floor level and them another on par with the second shelf. (Aka, third floor.) For whatever reason, I'd fed him via the upper door (He was probably climbing the walls for a piece of popcorn) and then either not closed it after or not latched it very well.

I noticed the door had been open when I went over to give him a piece of popcorn. He was sitting on his shelf, nose twitching in the open doorway, but he didn't try to escape. The notebook on the table wasn't nibbled, the open bag of pumpkin seeds hadn't been eaten or rifled through, his hated travel carrier not pushed off the tabel.

He knew the door was open but he stayed inside anyway. If I open the bottom one, he runs out like a shot. It's not like he can't climb the walls, he's quite good at it, I guess he just knew that something wasn't 'right' and he wasn't going to escape. This time, of course, next time it's probably fair game.

Of course, it also may have been a Mickly visitor who was just trying to get a certain foo' gerbil in trouble..

Monday, November 18, 2013

[Rabbit Stories] Mr Mick, the Doctor.. JUST A RABBIT?!

Mr Mick gave the door of the TARDIS a good thump. It was opened shortly there after by Martha. "Oh, Mickey! Welcome back!"

"HMPH!" said the indignant lop as he hopped past her and into the control room and sat up on his hind paws and glared at the Doctor.

"Look, I know what you're going to say.." He stood, straightening his tie. "And there's a very simple explanation.."

"JUST a rabbit?!" Mickey growled. "JUST A RABBIT?!"

"Well, you see.." The Doctor coughed, "The human recording devices don't pick up the rabbit's end of the conversation. You missed out on it entirely. He was threatening me the little bu.. er, fuzzy bottom. Then I realized how it all must sound to the watchers!"

"Tell me another one." Mickey said with a 'hmph,' settling back down to all fours.

"There I was, running along, and I pass Mr Floppy Ears. Oh, I don't know his real name, he didn't bother to tell me THAT."

The Doctor pulled up the archive footage of him running through a forest. When the bunny appeared, he put on a bad fake rabbit voice. "You! STOP! I am your destroyer."

Back to his normal voice, "So I, like the reasonable person I am, I stopped and explained why this wasn't a wise path for him to hop." The video played through 'Whatever you have planned, forget it. I'm the Doctor, I'm nine hundred and four years old, I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I am the oncoming storm, the bringer of darkness.."

The video paused, "And that's about when I realized I had an audience and I must look like a right fool, so to throw them off track, I added the next bit, y'know, the just a rabbit part. It was for your own good too, y'know! You don't want every Tom, Dick and Mary knowing about you and your real rabbity ways, do you?"


"If it's any conciliation, he told me about that point he was digging my grave and asked if I wanted anything special at my funeral."

"Good." Mr Mick replied grumpily. The buff coloured rabbit looked thoughtful for a moment, "Do you?"

"Not really, just a big bonfire." The Doctor replied.

"Tell 'em about the socks." Martha interjected helpfully.

"OH! YES! The Socks! THE SOCKS, Mickey!" The Doctor held up his pant legs to show a pair of socks with several nibble holes. "They ALL look like this. A wardrobe the size of a small moon and somebuns managed to gnaw holes in them all!"

"Good." Mr Mick said with more satisfaction.

"I'm scared to take off my shoes!" The Doctor protested, waving his hands about.

"Even better." Mickey sniffed, "You SHOULD be. Just a rabbit. Hmph." Mr Mick turned on his tail and hopped towards the door, stopping in front of Martha, "You keep an eye on him." He looked over his shoulder. "JUST A RABBIT." He grumped again. Hop, foot flick, foot flick, hop.

He exited the TARDIS and stopped to give the blue wood a quick lick. "Sorry about the thumping. That wasn't very nice of me. It's not YOUR fault.." He paused and raised his voice, "THAT YOUR DOCTOR IS A BIG JERK."

"NOT A JERK! Protecting rabbit kind!" Came the reply.

"Foo' Doctor." Mr Mick muttered as he hopped his way home. "Just a rabbit. Really."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

[Bunny Stories] Kleenex Sneezies.

(Hannah and Harrington can be found over at Raspberry Rabbits)

Harrington hopped over to the kleenex box, his ears flopping as he bounced. He grabbed one and with a yank of head, twist of neck, and he had a tissue on its way back to its destination. He but the kleenex on the floor for Hannah to use.
She sneezed into it twice. "I just feel so silly." She said before rumpling it up with her paws. "Getting all sneezy like a human!"

Harrington flopped down beside his mate. "It could be worse. You could be all burpy like a human." He made an option mouth to follow up with a gagging motion, before rolling over, paws in the air in a giggle.

"And the vomitting!" Hannah said, shaking her head. "That's just gross."

"What about all that perfectly good poop they don't reingest?!" Harrington asked, flopping back to his side, leaning against Hannah. "Humans are so weird."

"The fake fur because they can't grow their own," Hannah shook her head, "and the colours they dye it!"

"And they remove what bits they CAN grow."  Harrington said with disgusted amusement.

"Their burrows they thread roots through to destroy all escape routes!"

"And the fuss they make if you try to save them from their own silliness!"

"Oh, and they never eat enough vegetables. How can they see hawks coming if they don't have their vegetables?" Hannah leaned her chin on the floor, "At least Momma is sensible and paints the walls with pretty colours and has lots of things to scritch itchy spots on."

"Even if she doesn't like our help when she's making them." Harrington grumped.

"That's because your idea of helping," She stopped to sneeze twice and shook her head in frustration at being sick, "is to nibble the bits that shouldn't be nibbled."

"If they didn't mean to be nibbled, why does she make them so tasty?" Harrington asked, uppy ear swivelling.

"Uhm." Hannah didn't have a ready answer. "Same reason that they throw the yummy bits of the pumpkin out and make ookey faces on it?"

"That was is as silly as the loud noises they enjoy making." Harrington sighed. "Humans are just a mess. It's a good thing they're around to take care of them!"

They could hear their Momma coming with her clatter of vials and syringes. "Ohh, snack time." Hannah said, sitting up. "At least the medication doesn't taste as bad as the last round."

Their Momma came into the room reciting dose amounts to herself and stopped short. "How did you two get into the kleenex?!" There was a small collection of crumpled up kleenex in the bunclosure.

Two bunnies just periscoped up doing their best to look sweet and innocent.

A sigh, "You two are very silly."

"Takes one to know one," Harrington whispered in an aside to Hannah. She tried not to giggle.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

[Dreamland] Me and an owl in a dream.

One of my dreams last night was of an owl. I was walking through a park, most likely Stanley Park, and I saw movement in the brush under an oak tree. I saw it was an owl. Just what an owl was doing on the ground is anyone's guess, but I decided to take a picture of him. So, I sat on the ground and he meandered over.

Even in a dream I knew this was very un-owl-like behaviour. (It's my blog, I can make up words if I want.) This owl waddled over to me, turned and with his face back towards the tree, huddled up against my leg where I was sitting crosslegged on the ground. I remember thinking "First it's wild rabbits, now it's wild owls." (Scout's rescue of me from rabbit-free life was similar. Silly me thinking she was a wild rabbit!) He sat there so long I called in a conservation officer to come get this owl. I told the owl (who I was calling 'Bert') that no matter what kind of sad eyes he gave me, I wasn't feeding my gerbil to him.

I ended up riding in the bed of a pick-up with this owl because he didn't want me to leave him alone. I thought about why an owl would be so attached to a human, and came to the conclusion that some jerk had bonded with him and ditched him in the woods thinking he'd survive just fine. (Animals learn how to be an animal in their childhood and youth, if no one teaches them, they have no clue as adults.)

The dream ended with me handed over the owl to an owl specialist at a conservation place. I remember telling the story of Boo Boo and Octavia, the two owls at 8 Squadron where my Dad had been stationed in Scotland.

Even in my dreams animals think I'm a giant sucker who'll take care of them! Probably doesn't help that they're right.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

[A Memorial] August 14th, 2013, the world lost a jester.

Andrew Brechin was an amazing man, and many have a hole in their hearts from his passing. One minute it seemed he and I were talking I would absolutely, positively, I swear on a stack of a thousand bibles, make it to his Yuletide event since I didn't make his birthday .. again. The next minute, he was gone. I don't remember WHO told me, or where I found the information on Facebook, but I thought it some sort of sick joke and my immediate thought was "Holy shit, Tillie must be devastated." The next thought was "Holy shit, *I* am devastated." He was a bard, a jester, a friend, a father, a brat, and a role-model. Though, he'd probably have been mock-horrified at being labelled the last.

A story of Andrew Brechin that I posted to my Facebook (so if you read it there, this is a repeat.)

"You play D&D? You should join my Palladium Fantasy group!" Andrew enthused. I was thirteen or fourteen, I'd be gaming with people very much my elders, but I was already quite addicted to gaming. My Mum, not a fan of RPGs or modemmers, let herself be conned by myself and my Dad who agreed to chauffeur me, as it WOULD be social time and get me out and off "that damned computer."

I was pretty scared that first time, walking into a group of people I only vaguely knew. Nick, Renea, Tammy, are still friends because of that gaming group and Andrew. Andrew took me under his wing (as he did many a lost soul) and made sure I had fun. I also got my first ever experience of "dumbfounding the GM"

My character was a canine druid. In Palladium Fantasy that means I could turn into any canine, or ursine, animal I could think of. Most often, that form was a kodiak bear. On this one adventure we were chasing down four elemental mages and I found myself on my own in the lair of the earth mage who had obviously fled. He, however, had left his sentient walking stick behind. I, in fox form, was trying to get information from said stick and said stick was being most uncooperative. Now, one would think I would have the brains to threaten to *chew* on said stick, but no, my barely teenage mind decided to threaten it with piddle. I said something along the lines of how I hadn't seen a bathroom in a long time, and wouldn't it be a shame if I confused a certain walking stick for a tree.

Andrew stared at me. "Did you just threaten to pee on the walking stick?" I reaffirmed that yes, that's what I want to do. He boggled. This was obviously a threat he hadn't considered. I'm not sure it's a threat anyone but a young, slightly off-beat, teen would have consider it. After a long pause he laughed and said the stick didn't believe me, so I went right ahead and did the canine thing of leg lift and release. Surprisingly, the walking stick started to babble every secret the earth mage had. Go fig, who knew urine was the great releaser of truth.

Andrew said later, after the game, "You so have to join my Cyberpunk group." But alas, She Who Makes the Rules (aka, Mum) thought that ONE gaming group was more than enough of a bad influence on me. She was probably right, but Andrew remained a happy, positive, bouncy, incorrigible, influence from day one to day end.

His best advice of all was, "Be yourself. If you're not yourself, who are you?"

He gave the best hugs, and I miss him.